Garbanzo beans are in aisle 3. I’ll walk you over there…

I’m going to discuss today’s schedule backwards so I can explain that blog title to you.

So my last event of the day was the Reference User Services Association (RUSA) President’s program title “For the Love of Reference” (Twitter hashtag #4luvref) in which we heard from librarian and reader’s advisory pro Nancy Pearl, author Joseph Finder, and NJ reference librarian Peter Bromberg. Bromberg’s talk was wonderfully inspiring, and began with “Reference librarians inspire love letters.” One such love letter was his deceased aunt’s autobiography which described the saving grace that was the NYPL. The library gave her books in her native language so that she could continue reading and learning, despite having to work long, hard hours to make ends meet. The library also taught her English. (Note: We do these same things today!! Look at the Spanish-speaking community. They need us like Bromberg’s grandmother needed us in 1921. Family ties aside, Peter LOVES being a reference librarian. He said some things that made us all nod violently and say “ME TOO!” such as the fact that we are randomly asked for directions or for help. Like in Whole Foods; “Do you know where the garbanzo beans are?” Our response: “Aisle three! Let me walk you over there.”
Author Joseph Finder had just the best stories about being a CIA agent (note: desk job translating economic journals from Russian to English). He would have conversations with peers on the basis that he was writing a novel, and the exact things he wrote about in his books made their way into newspapers…because they were actually happening. For example, the novel Moscow Club discussed the fictional event of the violent coup trying to take down Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev…which had just actually occurred. Did he have a crystal ball? No, but he did his research, which any good author will tell you is a critical step in the book-writing process, regardless of the book’s label of fiction or non-fiction.
Nancy Pearl, as always, had some fabulous things to say.
1. “People don’t read the same book,” meaning that I read a book differently than you read the exact same one. I see romance and relationships where you see action and hardships. So when doing reader’s advisory, ask the customer what they liked about the book. Don’t assume it’s the same thing you liked/noticed.
2. Say to the customer, “Come back and tell me what you thought of that book,” because it a) brings them back into the library, b) shows people that the library is a place where books are valued, and c) because you will learn about that particular title.
3. Don’t say, “You’ll love it!” because they may not, and if they don’t, they may never return to you for advice.

Another event I went to today was a graphic novel panel with David Small and Audrey Niffenegger. Both of their recent graphic novel releases look fabulous. David’s memoir is going to be a difficult read because he had cancer at 14 (thanks to his dad constantly submitting him to x-ray scans, as he was an x-ray technician) and his…interesting up-bringing. Audrey’s new book is one that any reader can fall in love with, as it is a story of a girl who, as a teen, stumbles upon her own book mobile, filled with every book she has ever read. She spends nine years trying to find it again. Don’t we all wish we could fill a room with the books we have read, just to remember? Like, where was I when I read “Gone with the Wind” for the first time? Or, how many times did I read the first book in the Boxcar Children series??

When signing my book he said, “April Pavis. Okay, I won’t use the standard line on you. You know…” and together we said, “April in Paris.” Nice little moment. 🙂

During my time in the exhibit hall today I got alllllll this:

…and this was me being selective, not just picking up every free book I passed by. The titles are:
Stitches by David Small
Boardwalk Empire: the birth, high times, and corruption of Atlantic City by Nelson Johnson
The Best American Magazine Writing an anthology of 2009 articles
14 Cows for America written by Carmen Agra Deedy, illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez
Late for School written by Steve Martin, illustrated by C.F. Payne

For Amanda:
Half Baked: the story of my nerves, my newborn, and how we both learned to breathe by Alexa Stevenson

For my mom:
God’s Guest List: welcoming those who influence our lives by Debbie Macomber

For Katie W., my friend and fellow MLS student:
Fallout by Ellen Hopkins
Monster High by Lisi Harrison
The English is Coming: how one language is sweeping the world by Leslie Dunton-Downer

Posted in ALA

One thought on “Garbanzo beans are in aisle 3. I’ll walk you over there…

  1. "For the Love of Reference" was an amazing session; one of my favorites of the whole conference! It's so refreshing to know that there are other librarians out there who love talking to users and helping them, and others who are ridiculously helpful at the grocery store. 😉

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